In one of his first moves as a Bull, Wade made something of his own official as it pertains to Jimmy Butler’s standing in Chicago.
“This is Jimmy’s team,” Wade said. “It won’t be a tug and pull whose team it is.”
Wade’s comments come on the heels of new Bulls point guard Rajon Rondosaying at his own introductory news conference earlier this month that the Bulls had “three alphas” between Wade, Butler and himself, but that it was Butler’s team moving forward.
Wade recalled what happened back in 2004, when Shaquille O’Neal was traded from the volatile Los Angeles Lakers to Miami in the offseason.
“We had no championships at the time, and I remember his press conference,” Wade said. “I was playing in the Olympics at the time, like Jimmy is right now. And I remember Shaq said: ‘We’re not going to go through this all year. This is Dwyane Wade’s team.’
“So, we’re not going to go through this all year. This is Jimmy Butler’s team. Myself and Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes to this team and to this city. He’s the young Bull on this team. He’s a 26-year-old who can play 40 minutes if coach wants him to and maybe more. I ain’t trying to do all that. And we’re going to depend on him a lot.”
How Butler adjusts to his role as face of the franchise is one of the single biggest questions surrounding the Bulls entering 2016-17. Butler clashed at times with veteran teammates last season as he tried to take a more vocal leadership role while developing into one of the best two-way players in the NBA.